tv Capital News Today CSPAN January 6, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EST
>> thank you very much for that kind introduction in bringing up this issue that is proving to be very timely and perhaps of increasing concern in the days ahead. before it began with my shortcome a brief presentation, the quick disclaimer. they have uziah reflecting today are my own and my personal views to not necessarily reflect the views of the congressional research service or the library of congress. what i would like to do for the time i have is to focus on this issue more from livia ne-- vietnamese perspective than looking at the u.s. aspects of it. and with that in mind what i would first like to do is talk about three particular elements of the issue, a little bit of a background on each of those issues and then talk a bit from the vietnamese perspective how
of hotspots, places where the concentration levels are high. a generally due to basically spillage and loss during the movement, not areas sprayed by and large studies have found that the residuals in this parade areas, even heavily sprayed areas are not of the international threshold for opposing extended danger. whether or not those studies are comprehensive as a whole issue but as a result there is a focus on these hot spots. there appears to be somewhere in the 20 to 30 house lots are on the country. but three of them have become the prominent focus of the efforts to date on this issue and oddly enough they are all free around what used to be u.s. military bases. excuse my vietnamese pronunciation i've been there but i'm not a very good at vietnamese.
[speaking in vietnamese] -- and was a primary base for military operations during the war. if you look at the vietnamese perspective, most recent figure i found is the estimate it will cost from $60 million to pick up the airport. there is a joint effort going on between the united states and the vietnamese government. to date in terms of resources dedicated by the united states on this effort roughly $4 million. just recently announced the contracting of 1.7 million, 1.69 to be more precise for the construction of a secured landfill. now i've been to the facility, and what has been done to date is effectively a containment effort. a way of trying to limit public access to contaminated soil, water, lakes, ponds as well as
the creation of a catchment area to catching water that would be contaminated with dioxin so that does not spread further in the ecosystem. but this has now created a new situation which is say having contained the problem they are moving to clean up, and they're at least the last i heard is the question was do you just try to clean it up right away or basically move the contaminated soil out of the area and find a way of cleaning it up later. appears to have chosen to do the latter. that is to say move it to an area in a secure landfill and then find a way of trying to remove the dioxin from the environment. one of the ways of doing that is an experimental bile remediation technology which is being utilized. which is hopefully of greater use than just this one application but could be used in other situations around the world. there has been some criticism in
the vietnamese press and from the vietnamese government about the speed at which this cleanup program has proceeded however my impressions have been that by and large the relationship between the u.s. entities and vietnamese entities are involved in this containment and clean-up activity has been fairly good and fairly successful. moving than to the health care issue then things start getting a little more problematic and a part of the big issue is the act will scope or scale of the issue is really are known. if you look at vietnamese figures, we have already heard the figure of 400,000 deaths attributable to exposure to the agent orange by oxen, the vietnamese themselves, but the figure of 4.8 million people in to get mom that have health or medical problems associated with exposure to dioxin and agent orange, and one recent media reports put that in your
estimated cost of dealing with health effects of agent orange dioxin at $30 billion. to give you some perspective on the scope of this, the latest figure i could see of the vietnamese government in terms of their annual out we to do with the issue is 44 million. so we are a few scales off from each other, 30 billion on the one side, 44 million on the other. u.s. assistance dealing with the health care aspects of agent orange in vietnam to date, 2 million. which is again to get an idea we are moving orders of magnitude as we go from one to the other. part of the problem behind it is misuse identifying the victims and people associated with exposure of the sba to dioxin. as you can probably imagine, at the time of war it wasn't exactly clear who was where exactly when. particularly given the nature of the warfare going on in vietnam. since the war, a number of
people have moved to relocate around the imam said the actual physical location at this time may not be associated with exposure. the result is it isn't clear who exactly was exposed to the agent orange and dioxin when they were in vietnam. second even if they were exposed it isn't 100% clear how much they themselves have been affected by yet and one of the disease associated with that is the cost of trying to do such a study. agent orange isn't water soluble, it is fat soluble. i'm not a scientist in this regard but what it means is you have to a fat test, that tissue test and the last estimate lysol was $2,000 per test. needless to say given the money is the resources and the resources available doing comprehensive testing on everybody in the imam would be a prohibitively expensive cost particularly given the alternative would be to utilize it to take care of people they believe are affected by the
speed. another element and this is my personal view is there is a little bit of completion in vietnam between victims of speed as it is often put and people with certain medical conditions. there is almost a presumption that if you have a certain type of medical condition is a triple to exposure to agent orange. a case spina bifida would be an excellent one. the va recognizes spina bifida as a birth defect associated with agent orange and the imam is by charnel with spina bifida it is often presumed its related to the speed exposure even though it may not be. so, moving on then quickly the area of scientific research. if you look back over the time period since the war, there was an effort for joint research between the united states government and vietnamese government to try to identify the extent of this problem. it foundered, it didn't really
go out as well as it had hoped. there was a period they pulled away from it. this seems to be emerging as an area of willingness to do research, however as i indicated earlier, the ability to do such research is difficult. identifying people flexible if you want control groups, people not exposed to people who were exposed. inside the imam is very difficult to differentiate the two populations simply because people move around and people were not exactly where they were being sprayed with the agent orange and dioxin. second as i indicated the cost of doing the study the tissue sampling to determine whether or not somebody has a high level of dioxin in the system is another problem. third, when he get to the -- even if you determine the individual has dioxin in their system doesn't mazzoleni in the health conditions or problems they have is associated with the dioxin that is in their system. there may be other contributing factors. there are a number of new
initiatives going on in vietnam. my understanding is a sense this is being done in the auspices and the ministry of natural resources and the environment as well as ministry of health to try to identify with in the vietnamese population individuals who may have been adversely affected by dioxin. in addition there was a recent japanese joint japanese p.m. knees study that looked at 47,000 veterans and side of the imam, the vietnamese nationals trying to differentiate and exposed and not exposed to see whether or not there is indeed a higher incidence of certain health problems among those exposed to the speed and dioxin. that study confirmed yes, there is a differentiation. let me finish them by talking a little bit about the impact on the u.s. and vietnamese relations. as you already heard for the purpose of time the vietnamese government's seems to accept this issue can remain on the back burner. it wasn't it wasn't raised but they are willing to let it set
aside so other priorities for the vietnamese government could move forward such as the return of diplomatic recognition to vietnam. membership in the world trade organization, normal trade relations. those seem to take more of a priority than trying to press this issue. however on the other side, the u.s. site there are issues associated with a war that also took precedent over this be a issue which is the miapow issue. effectively in the united states, nothing else could go on other issues until the united states government felt that was adequately addressed. we apparently moved into the period they do see that has been adequately addressed. as these issues fell to the site as normal trade relations were established, diplomatic recognition, wto membership of the authors said decided basically allowed agent orange and the associated concerns to perk higher up on the priority
list in vietnam and they were willing to bring the issue forward more. that is not to say that there are not other issues that threaten or i shouldn't say threaten but could push agent orange of the front burner and into the back burner again. for example, the imam this past year applied for membership in the generalized system of preferences country preference policy of the united states government that application is still pending. no decision has come for me to the bush administration or the obama administration. so pushing on agent orange nei possibly in the eyes of the vietnamese have adverse effects on their gmp applications as they may be willing to step back for a little while. another issue coming forward is transpacific partnership, an initiative to form a free trade association in asia, united states just recently announced they were going to enter into formal negotiations to join what we call the tpp.
the imam also expressed interest in joining tpp so you may have a trade-off defeat could trigger from the tpp versus the agent orange in the future. my next point is in some ways contradict myself in that i keep talking about the vietnamese government and the perspective. one of the things i came away with in my research in vietnam is that there is no unified vietnamese government perspective on this. different ministries, different agencies have a different take on the issue. there is committee 33 or office 33 that is officially been given the authority to deal with this issue. they are trying to coordinate this issue and have gone from what i see a fairly effective job on that. however, different ministries, different agencies have, may have different perspectives on the issue. the ministry of health may be primarily concerned about the health effects in trying to adequately address the health effects. what is called the ministry of
labor, sometimes war invalid or just invalids, and look-see invalids and social affairs also deals with the agent orange issue. the deal with providing benefits. they are concerned about it. on the other hand, the site at the airport is under the ministry of defence authority. they would like to extend the runway. if you're interested in making that available. so, their priority may be in getting the contaminant of the area they can extend the runway and proceed on the project and let somebody else worry about the cleanup later. so you start seeing the beginning of tension within the vietnamese could run it on how to deal with it. even other industries you may not think of, the ministry in trade for example, some of the things the imam is best known of the world for exporting, say the carper, catfish, travon cited
the the money is our bottom feeding fish, dioxin tends to settle to the bottom of the aquatic environment so the cat fish me be a primary source of it getting into the food chain in the mall or a number world so needless to say the ministry of industry and trade would like to sort of them play problems associated with dioxin possibly being in the fish, ducks, geese, being the types of exports that may have dioxin and then. similarly, the ministry of natural resources in the environment may have mixed feelings about the issue. one committee what cleanup on the other hand they don't want to imply that agricultural products coming out of vietnam are inherently contaminated. however, having a point of there are some tensions within the vietnamese government there are
certain elements i found consistently reflected in different agencies in vietnam on the issue. first was time and time again there was the vietnamese talked about the contrast between how the u.s. via, war veterans were being treated in a u.s. policy and the the u.s. grumet attitude toward vietnamese war veterans and vietnamese civilian population from the war. in the u.s. policy, and i will let others speak about that is a presumption of exposure there for given the presumption of exposure medical conditions can be treated and provide benefits due to the exposure. we have not correspond and we treated the vietnamese population. second, there is some confusion from the apparent priorities in the u.s. funding. for a simple as an act of the earlier there's about $6 million provided by the united states government to alter that with the agent orange issue at the airport. that contrasts it sharply with
three and $23 million provided to the vietnam under what is called the pepfar program. so whereas pepfar which deals with hiv/aids is $323 million through this fiscal year agent orange which perhaps in the enemies of ice is a more serious issue has received to or six if you want to look at it in the whole part. at this time, my sense is the vietnamese government are more concerned about not addressing blame or who is responsible or legal obligations. they really want to work on solving their problems, dealing with the issues at hand. the last point i would also make which is just to throw it out on several occasions from the vietnamese perspective by her statements that say we cannot fully normalize relations with the united states until the agent orange issue has been addressed. so from their perspective we have not normalized relationships yet.
it is a process we are part with their. i am going a little bit long. my apologies. a couple of quick things. u.s. response to date as i indicated there's been three -- $6 million appropriated by congress specifically to deal with this issue, 3 million in fy 09 -- 07 and in fy and nine. is there more to come? that is a good question. we should see. the house foreign affairs committee has held two hearings on the issue. are there more to come? time will tell. the obama administration has been actively trying to get the disparate myth of the funds appropriated. the of personnel in place dedicated to this project and they continue to work through the joint advisory committee to facilitate government to government communications. last, just to reiterate earlier i mentioned the gsp and the dpp has issues that may impact on how much there is a willingness
to work on the agent orange issue. i would add two more. one recently there's been increasing concern about human-rights situation in the imam particularly the treatment of the media and second the issue of the workers' rights continues to be an ongoing issue between the united states and vietnamese government. so, do i provide you any answers? knollwood hoadly i've provided useful information and i will head the podium over to the next speakers and i'm ready and willing to answer questions later. thank you. [applause] okay. i appreciate paul including me in this esteemed panel and new america hosting the focus of the article i wrote for the package was really to -- the purpose was to take a step back and say what is the historical legal
international context within which questions about u.s. obligations or the possibilities of u.s. action to immediate agent orange take place? are there bases for the obligations either legal, moral or political or even just possible leverages, points of leverage with the u.s. could be brought to address these questions and the answer unfortunately is no there are not very many. but in the article i try to explain a little bit about how if you were nevertheless to as a policymaker try to construct a way to push the u.s. toward greater responsibility or recognition of its need to act how would you do that? so the first thing to keep in mind is when you talk about the environmental consequences of the war there are two broad categories. one is -- and they are somewhat artificial the first one is the
consequences of the actual war fighting, so you explode a bomb, you shoot guns, legal a land mine these sorts of things there are very few points of international law we or efforts to control this aspect of military activity and in in very little interest on the part of the global community to do something to. the reason is obvious if you are a country that has a military and you want to assure you that your mother to raise effective you don't want to be creating a corpus of international law we that restricts on necessarily your ability to act, so there has been activity on certain things, sort of on the edges like banning weather modification or restricting the deployment of land mines, -- land mines or a horrible thing for the environment. animals step on them, they'd
leach chemicals and they are often not match. chemical weapons control of chemical weapons and eradication of chemical weapons is a big step in that regard to the core idea we should try to reduce the impact of the conventional warfare on the environment is something that ultimately hinges on a paradox all military activity call war fighting is inherently bad for the environment, so given that most countries i wasn't hesitate to say pretty much every country wants to stay away from any of those kind of limitations. the only place where you do see some action is in a sort of victor's justice, the best example being after the first gulf war in which iraq was required to were actually some of the money that iraq was required to give the u.n. was funneled into funds that paid for the planning of oil spills
of the environmental damage caused by iraq's scorched-earth campaign at the end of -- toward the end of that conflict. the other category of activity is sort of everything else but it is the positioning of the military troops and assistant personnel of basing the movement of goods and troops and material around the world, testing weapons and everything, developing weapons, everything that goes into getting up to the point of the war fighting so this is obviously an enormous category also won every military undertakes even if they never actually go to war. and yet this is also one where the efforts to control its have been surprisingly limited at the international level. again for the same reason. if you are a country with a military, you don't want to
agree to one necessary limitations on that activity. it's also a question where very few countries actually have to deal with it in the international context because most countries don't have bases outside of their own territory. the united states does, britain, france, a few others. the soviet union did, and russia now did and they withdrew from those in the 1990's, but it really becomes a question of -- a question for the larger powers in the world and so inherently you are going to have a already stacked deck against anyone who is trying to create equitable international law we are around basing issues. there is also the issue of the dominance of the bilateral law in this regard. every country that agrees to post military forces has signed some sort of status of forces
agreement with the country whose military is coming on to their territory unless of course they've been conquered. but let's say the majority of countries are in this category so the philippines until 1991 was home to the bay or clark air force base or field coming enormous facilities. when the u.s. pulled out it was discovered that we had over the course of several decades lead to enormous environmental waste to the countryside. there was never a working sources and at the bases and so the result was just decades and decades of human and animal waste accumulating in the ground and in the water around there. however, for what it's worth the philippines -- the government after world war ii sidey status of forces agreement and said it would take care of any of the side effects of u.s. action.
the u.s. also said look when we are pulling out in the 1990's and we are cognizant of these problems, these environmental problems we can't hold ourselves responsible for actions that were begun at a time no one in the world really considered the environmental consequences of this kind of activity, so we are not going to put ourselves in the position where we are suddenly responsible for actions taken under a different sort of paradigm or different mind set. ultimately it comes down to a question of cost. this is a few were to require the united states or any country to clean up after its military activity overseas there would be no end to what can be required of them. the u.s. recently paid 100 million -- about ten years ago paid not $100 million to canada to clean up to relatively
minor facilities that we had up in the northern part of that country, and that is an instance where the impacts and amount of damages were ultimately minor and we don't want to get into a situation where we are having to -- we i mean the u.s. military, not obviously myself -- where the military is having to check itself and spend an inordinate amount of time keeping its activities limited or somehow above board environment and therefore possibly do that, possibly not doing as much as it can to fulfill its mission. that is its perspective and the perspective of people in the government i spoke with for the article. now, all of that being said -- and you have these two categories around which there is no corpus of international law we had no motivation normal momentum toward the development of a corpus of international law we.
there are -- there is yet another category where there has been some movement and that is on the sort of political motivations for cleanup and there's one great example and when i discuss at length in the article and is something that could provide a framework for thinking about u.s. actions, visa v. the imam and that is japanese cleanup of chemical weapons left behind by the imperial army northeast china, so when the military forces of japan or withdrawing very hastily at the end of the war they left behind some 700,000 unexploded munitions, bombshells, what have you of all sorts. they had a whole range of chemical agents and most of them were buried, some of them were left in boggs and riverside's, not mere cities necessarily but over time as the population grew
and people moved into these areas farmers started turning up unexploded shells, construction crews would hit the shell and would go off for it would lead over time or over the last 60 years some hundreds of thousands of people have been affected and many of them have sustained life intact and injuries or have died because of this, so china long pressed for japan to do something about it. now until relatively recently japan has had no obligation to do anything. in the 1990's it signed the chemical weapons convention which required it not only -- which require signatories not only to get rid of their own chemical weapons but if they had ever left chemical weapons on the foreign soil to repeat the impact so again there were very few countries that actually fell under that category but one of them was japan. that being said, japan for a while did try to resist doing
anything under this and they said we don't have an obligation, the sort of said it is politically very difficult to do anything. you see the far right in japan has all of power and they don't want to take responsibility for anything but we did in china but one thing changed over the course of the late 80's into the 90's and that is the relationship between the two countries has changed. suddenly japan is not as powerful as it used to be and china is much more powerful economically, geopolitically the two of them now have -- the two are now each other's perhaps most important neighbor, and so japan now sees a political need in the economic need to make nice with china. now there are certain things that japan will probably take a long time to do in this regard. they will probably never apologize for invading china for a civil there's certain things the japanese decided in the 90's
we can do. we left these chemical weapons behind we can address that we obviously know china something for that and here is an easy way to address this question and therefore improve relationship with china japan did not a 180 but 130 and began to move toward an agreement, a joint effort with china since 1997 japan has piled millions and millions of dollars into this effort. things haven't gone as swimmingly as it was predicted. it's a very difficult thing to do. this is -- there's never been an effort on this scale before. the chinese government is somewhat difficult to deal with when you are moving a large inexplicably technical machinery into their country, and there
has also been corruption on the japanese side. nevertheless, the political will behind this effort has been -- has been quite striking. but the point as the political will came about not because there was a moral obligation or because the legal groundwork changed but simply because the political environment changed, and there's also an interesting parallel not merely of the same size regarding the u.s.. having said all this about the u.s. never wanting to take account of its environmental transgressions overseas there is an interesting comparison to the way we've addressed this question with regards to canada as i mentioned, and in panama. in panama we had bases in the canal for almost 100 years, and during world war ii we used some of those bases testing areas mostly highlands off the coast to test chemical weapons.
the idea being that the japanese might use chemical weapons against us in the south pacific or we might have to use them against the japanese, and there is no understanding of what would be like in dutch arbuckle environment. we have control of these islands. we will test weapons there. not all of them went off. there are to this day and accounted for a number of chemical weapons sitting on a few islands off the coast of panama. the u.s. has offered in addition to the kind of bear minimum cleanup that it did after it pulled out of luck canal zone in 1999 we have offered a miner's son of money i think a couple of million dollars to help them clean up these facilities but our position has been what are you asking for you want to go in and clean up unpopulated islet and destroy to get to these
weapons you will clean them up and then the result will actually be worse as a few -- as opposed to leaving them alone to our response has been a deal with it, and here is some hush money. compare that with our efforts -- our cleanup efforts in canada. as i mentioned a couple of relatively minor small facilities in canada that we pulled out of after the end of the cold war canada said we have -- as we know we promised to clean this up but you guys a loss $100 million to take care of this and we are not going to do this on our own and besides we are your biggest trading partner and next door neighbor, come on to use a surprisingly riyal polity came to the floor in 1998 after a few years of saying no we don't do that kind of thing, the u.s. turned itself around and said, and this is according to john, deputy secretary defense of the time,
there is no other country with the same combination of geography, historical relationship and vital significance to the u.s. national security, he said and indicating yes we are going to take care of this, however he said this was a special case had not duplicated anywhere else in the world, so what's important to note is two things. first of all because we have this relationship with canada we decided to go against what is a pretty clearly stated policy and to go above and beyond the status of forces agreement we have with canada and take care of the problem. at the same time was very important was the ability for the u.s. to say this is a very special case. we are not going to do this for anyone else, and so that becomes kind of a very vague but useful framework for thinking about how do we -- how could the u.s. come around to doing something in the vietnam or what would be the requirement for the u.s. to do something because first of all there is never going to be a
case where the i united states recognizes the moral obligation. it's proven time after time again that that is not a criterion. the u.s. has no legal obligation, bilaterally or infringer -- international law. at the u.s. is quick to charge a high price or there is going to be a very high threshold for the u.s. to do something because of changing political and economic relations. however if there is a way to frame the assistance that is the limited, that is it makes it a special case where the u.s. can say very clearly we are doing this for you and we are not going to do it for anybody else, then you can start to see possibly i think if that were possible if you would start to see some action. and in fact that is what is happening in the case of the limited cleanup michael discussed. the u.s. has said we will give
you this money but here's the deal: we are not doing it -- we are doing it for humanitarian reasons which really means we are doing it just because well, we want to make you happy and everything but the conditions are we don't recognize the dioxin is a problem. we don't recognize there's dioxin in the area. we don't even recognize you have any need for this money but just in case you do it's a few million dollars and there you go. so that is the same kind of screening because the demand states is able or at least has the gumption to say this isn't a recognized problem but we will do it for you any way. we are then able to go ahead and do that. as we start to think about our talk about some of these issues addressed in the actual health consequences it will be useful for the policy makers to think about how can we from this kind of assistance in a way that is limited and tends toward an explanation of uniqueness and allows the united states and out
which would prevent it from having to respond to similar claims from other countries, line. that is an inordinately high bar. i don't think that there is -- you have to be very creative let's say to come up with a really compelling argument in that regard. but i do think that given the history of u.s. actions in this regard and the legal framework that is out there internationally that is it's going to be the only way forward. thank you. [applause] >> i should have introduced the democracy journal. now i would like to introduce philip longman of the new america's foundation. >> [inaudible] so i'm going to talk about the american veterans experience
with agent orange, and before i do i just want to say right off that despite my appearance and actually a little too young to have been in the vietnam war. i missed it by a year, so i say that so nobody will confuse me with a draft doctor or a vietnam veteran who's got attitude. if i go into a rage i'm doing it on behalf of veterans, not because i am one. the other somewhat complicating factor for me today is as paul mentioned i am the author of this book, "best care anywhere why the v.a. health care is better than yours." and i have ownership of that book. it's coming out in a second edition. i still stand by what it says, which essentially is the va, despite its mixed reputation, has undergone a quality revolution that has a lot to teach about reforming the rest of the health care system. thank you. but the va does have problems,
and when it comes to agent orange, many of those problems are very revealed, and it's interesting for even those who are not particularly interested in the subject. they reveal how other contradictions we carry around with us and how we think about health care, not just military health. it is by way of background the united states didn't even have a va or anything like it until after world war i there was no presumption that if you had any kind of disability or combat related problem we would treat you. civil war union veterans got pensions they could prove more related disability but we didn't have the va hospitals. the va grew after world war ii into what is now the largest integrated health care service provider in the country. it has had a checkered history particularly during the vietnam
era but as i say has undergone this great quality revolution in the 90's to the point if you talk to them today the thing they are mad about with ca is they can't get in because we have this kind of crazy legacy i don't think we have fought about we just inherited it. that to this day we are not going to treat as a veteran unless you are indigent or have some service related disability that you can prove you got in the service. there's been times there were other exceptions but that is essentially how the va works. now when we got out of the vietnam the guys started come back and explained to the complaint about things. basically we said well we will treat your at the but any other
kind of complications you have we don't recognize that as having anything to do with your being in the and on and it got ugly for those of you old enough to remember. there was a moment when carter's dac qtr remax cleveland was testifying in front of the senate's are probably a bunch of the imam war veterans and cleveland of course the people reject the through their medals and send you lost your walls and the vietnam, too. and there was riggins's va secretary who got on the "good morning america" and used the occasion to coffee and on veterans' a bunch of crybabies. there was gigantic lawsuits against dow and catv to makers of agent orange. it got settled in a way that left a lot of veterans feeling jipped. there were conservative think tanks that all kind of reports about how it is junk science that agent orange had anything
to do with anybody's disabilities. and that went on for years until finally 1991 looked like it got to the point we were going to do the right thing. so, past the law that year that said if you serve in the vietnam you have one of three conditions that are by then seceded with agent orange that would be a presumptive service disability and the va would treat you. then over the years on the same act called on the institute of medicine to every year review was science was out there and as the year went by the iom report come back and they keep finding more and more complications. the big one team in 1991 when they found a strong association with type two diabetes. of course one of the most common disease in american life and much more recently we've had new science on parkinson's. early onset parkinson's disease.
now, normally when it comes to public policy, you want it based on science. i mean, right? the last administration said they ignored signs and now we are all pro science. but in this realm, waiting for science is a real bad thing. it is on just for two reasons. number one, it simply takes time, and the enormous amounts of data to make a generalization about any association. so we have been waiting for the army to die before this definitive science comes in. the other thing is also when you think that the va hospital you might think of a wounded warrior is coming back from iraq or afghanistan. there is only a small portion of the people being treated in the v.a. hospitals. the typical fee a hostile has 5%
of people. recent combat effects. everybody else, middle age and the problems are the problems of aging. chronic diseases mostly. some of them brought on and exasperated by speed, exposure to all kind of other hazards in vietnam. but in any particular individual case, it is impossible to look at them and say well okay, your parkinson's is caused by exposure to agent orange. a chronic disease is always caused by a combination of genetics, environmental factors, behavioral things. so, we are actually asking people to prove a metaphysical point that cannot be proved and we now have this gigantic appeals court system hearing 40,000 cases of people coming up and saying i've got this problem and i think it has something to do with my service and you are saying it doesn't and my lawyer
says it does and the fight every single day. a typical case would be guys 54-years-old, finds his hearing is going. he thinks that's probably because of the artillery shells i was around in vietnam, he makes a claim for a hearing aid and they come back and said no i think it was following around the rock band in the 60's and there's a gigantic fight about who is responsible for this guy 's hearing loss. fortunately, there is a better way. what we need to do as a society is stalled trying to condition people's access to health care on the basis of their being qualified for a deserving. the access to health care because it is a right of citizenship and certainly right of military server citizenship. most of the vets today are
elderly or late middle-age because the pattern of the war. most are going to qualify for medicare any way. the va has excess capacity. soon it's going to have a lot more excess capacity. it is less the world war ii generation and the korean war passalong. it's also been a winning for a decade now has literally offering the best care anywhere on metrics ranging from patient satisfaction to the use of information technology, evidence based medicine. anybody remotely acquainted with the quality of literature on health care the last decade would know the va has the best care anywhere. also, although it is hard to get a card number it appears the cost per patient as compared to medicare is about two-thirds. so this is a triple winner.
open up the va to the vets who can use the medicare entitlement not only that, open it up to their wives, let them buy into the system. this now makes clinical sense but 8-year-old veteran scott more bdy with their wife, they have to take care of their tether to the coverage of the buttocks sense because every person of medicare and to the va you have saved about one third and patient satisfaction is an incredibly high. so, that is my case for what we have to do not just about the agent orange situation, but getting the veterans write in general. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, everyone, four-door remarks. i want to open up to questions from the audience an eminent but
first i want to ask for myself, and the first is it seems like both in vietnam and in the united states -- and this is the theme that emerges as we are doing our research and editing the package, when you run into is the limits of science when trying to craft public policy for foreign policy or domestic health policy. as philip said, one wants to condition benefits or base promises of benefits on some hard numbers and hard science. in the case of both vietnam and the veterans here you run into problems with that. this is more of an open-ended
question to the staff but also michael, is this something that congress, the leadership in congress or the administration is going to have to deal with and is it something that in and your interactions with the vietnamese they recognize, and i would also like you to talk about the point you made that they see a difference in how we treat our veterans, the promises we make and the science we argue shapes benefits to veterans and the way science is used in denying responsibility in vietnam. >> let me start with since it is
the most recent one the last issue which is the difference in perception between u.s. veterans and how they are treated versus how the u.s. government from the cnas perspective deals with the vietnamese nationals exposed to dioxide and filled made good points about the nature of care being provided to u.s. veterans and there is one category for example the blue water veterans for example under the way that it has been interpreted by the va today, veterans who served aboard ship off the coast of the vietnam are not eligible for agent orange benefits because they never put foot on soil in vietnam and that is how the va has interpreted the law we passed by congress. there are bills before congress right now to address the issue that would extend benefits to the blue water bets as well as air force which is interesting because in many cases the pilots
were the ones who were spraying agent orange but they may not be benefit -- beneficiaries of the agent orange program because they didn't touch the soil in the vietnam. if they flew off the coast. i don't know the numbers on that category, but it is an interesting concept. having said that as i was indicating the way it is generally work is if you served during a certain time frame in the theater and the mom and touch soil and had certain medical conditions as he said was identified by the institute of medicine as having sufficient scientific evidence that the disease may be attributable to exposures to dioxin and he did when i have to talk like that but that is what kind of frames out then that it may be extended to you under the program and that is where the science issue over time becomes a problem. inside vietnam, turning to that aspect, but my sense of it was
is in many cases you're dealing with health practitioners. if they have a patient, somebody with a problem. they want to treat the problem. they want to treat the issue and to a certain extent, they are not overly concerned exactly why that person has that medical condition and so to the medical practice servers i've met with, the people who provide care in vietnam that i met with were interested in providing humanitarian assistance where things can get problematic is when the u.s. money is involved, u.s. government money is involved, the money is earmarked through particular program to be utilized in a particular way for certain types of beneficiaries, and so you can run into a problem they have to try to attribute the medical condition to a particular cause so the u.s. funds can flow to those particular patients. there are ways that have been presented that can address that. for example do can deal with the presumption of the population of
around the airport. we will provide medical services to people who live near the airport regardless of the nature of the cause of the illness. it's just humanitarian assistance would provide to the area because they are identified as an effective population. so there are ways it is being addressed on both sides but it at times can be from what i -- from the conversations i have with people what can be very frustrating because you have a regulatory to provide assistance on the other. >> let me ask another question and that is especially the clay, as we conduct -- as we look to the future america is obviously involved in into sizable military endeavors and a lot of little ones around the globe we are now pulling out of some of the smaller bases in iraq consolidating into larger ones
eventually those too will be handed over. are we going to see some of the same problems in iraq and eventually afghanistan as we saw in vietnam and canada and so forth? >> beginning in the early 90's the u.s. actually, the military did begin to recognize the political dangers of inherent in the pollution and environmental damage becoming evident on the basis not only domestically but also abroad as we start to pull down our forces in asia and europe and so there were congressional hearings, there were -- more importantly there was steps taken within the military to say okay, going forward we are going to try to be little more careful about these things if only because that is what is expected of very
publicly visible public institutions particularly something like the military command when it comes to our activities overseas we don't want this to become the reason why, to know, the next country forces us to pull out. so that it does and to do a whole lot for basis that have been around for a long time. the damage is so a lot of the existing pieces in germany although they have been better maintained in some of the asian bases but say something like garcia, there are enormous amounts of damage that go back a long time and despite the new recognition of the need to be better stewards in the 90's that's just going to be there. when you apply that question to iraq or afghanistan, i think that you are going to see as we
withdraw a better maintained facility in that regard. with that said the reality is always going to be the same. the forces we deployed in iraq and afghanistan are not there to be environmental stewards first and foremost. that is bluntly what the military says, we are there to fight a war and is someone else's responsibility to take care of that. we will do the best we can but we are not going to sacrifice our cut corners to date and they also still have the same kind of status forces agreement with iraq and afghanistan that you saw before. so yes, i think you can expect to see better facilities being turned over were less polluted areas but there is still going to be problems and i wouldn't be surprised if down the road iraq raises the was questions and says we have seen a higher level
of morality in a certain area and we think that is because xy and z stored during the u.s. occupation so i do think this will continue to be an issue despite more attention being paid since the 90's. >> i would like to open up for questions but first i want to recognize walter isaacson and the audience, walter of the aspen institute and also leader of the effort to to marshal support behind recognizing the issue of vietnam and agent orange and a contributor to our special reports. thank you for being here, walter. some questions, the gentleman in the back right here. and please, wait until you get to the microphone, state your name and also your affiliation if any. >> my name is peter carpenter. i am a vietnam veteran who's heavily exposed to agent orange and as a consequence, was
subsequently diagnosed with chronic leukemia. i was the first such veteran to be granted benefits by the va. as a consequence of knowing both harvey feinberg at the institute of medicine and kip at the v.a. i was able to get them to go back and review the data, and i just wanted to thank the panelists and the organization here for the work think you're doing because for the last five or six years this has become a sort of forgotten issue. something that we thought we dealt with, and those of us who served are now getting to the age where we are increasingly vulnerable to the long-term effect of the agent orange exposure which we had. and it is only going to be because of the work of people like you that we don't forget about the people who served. thank you very much for what you've done. >> thank you. [applause] >> this gentleman right here. >> my name is david adelson and i'd like to congratulate mr. longman and his presentation
and solution. i think it is reasonable. i'm an attorney involved in these issues about 25 years. i was the legal director of the vietnam veterans, the co-director of the national veterans legal services program and i think your article needs background and expansion. the 91 act that came as a result of the litigation brought against the va challenging the fda's interpretation of the 1984 agent orange act. they were applying a cause and effect standard which wasn't intended by congress. it was overturned by the federal district court of california and the case has been ongoing the last 21 years. basically the gentleman you mentioned in your article, once parkinson's is concluded he is entitled retroactive payments from the first day that he applied, not the data regulations -- this has never
all ahead already had been with the political implications? >> as i indicated in my statement the $2,000 figure was cited by the vietnamese authorities. do know there are efforts of what am of bay foundation are part of that to make available to us facilities that will lower the costs significantly. they would contain other cooperative efforts going on to try to address the issue. speculating about what would have been in a particular case he would find out the tissue level was below what would be sufficient to indicate evidence a particular illness now the birth defect or what nine is attributable to agent orange it is speculative and difficult to answer an ad in
some ways a question it may not be on a case-by-case basis you can demonstrate that no this is attributable to the exposure of agent orange some ways u.s. veterans to a certain extent from the vietnamese perspective about the people who were exposed -- exposed the issue may be more about tried to address the health problems of the health population at this time. >> i made the it not better arm of america. not making clear his role with the court cases also would that act with an tom daschle, mcgovern a did try to stop it but -- stood in
front of the train ended not let the compensation act go through. so ted as a teenager survived the holocaust so there's not much he could contribute to scare him and so for that reason he was legislator of the year. but i do want to correct something. the perception is that american veterans and in fact, the problems have been addressed and in particular the families of birth defects, the biggest concern right now of the amount veterans is not in our kids but grandkids. not one week that goes by we did not have a young woman called the office and talk about the anomalies and her child and one thing to know is it due to exposure of
vietnam? the institute of medicine process that we have in place with the by the annual review is a passive process. they can only review original science done by somebody else. currently there is not a single scientific study of agent orange by nih, the cdc, ferc, virginia zero or by duty. if you don't have science to review he will not make progress. 95% of the articles reviewed in 2006 and 2008 by the institute of medicine were done overseas by north norwegian companies or other companies in europe for the far east. of the real question is not just for the vietnamese although we certainly would like to see that, it is also
justice for american families that are still suffering. so that the key is not just raising awareness that agent orange is still a problem having to do with it, but still a significant problem having to do with american veterans and their children and grandchildren. thank you. thank you all for your efforts. [applause] >> the gentleman in the far back. >> i am from veterans and military families for progress. thank you for your work on this issue. you mentioned max ast the director in the late '70s and pensioned things started to change in the '90s and i think that was due to jesse brown, clinton's administration the virginia secretary talking about the
history of the a i think it is only been 20 years with a cabinet level agency and today i was encouraged by the selection of retired generals shinseki i don't think there could be a better pick. i think it is significant for example, when president obama announced his new policy in afghanistan and he was included in a speech at west point*. my question is for feedback how to encourage you are in general for the future and this administration keep paying attention to the issue? >> >> i am a film maker. in 2008 we finished a film on a documentary film of the
environmental consequences of war. we certainly look at the vietnam situation. but right now i would like to think of the implications. you touched on this briefly, but we were interested in depleted uranium. we want to test something with that in the film and we were told there was absolutely no empirical evidence available to put a case for word to look at this in the film but in terms of the science that we gathered to test for this coming they were not really being conducted in a way that would give scion's a chance to say something about this. i think from the point* of view of the future of preventing some of these things it needs to be considered. >> i think clay could
probably best address that. >> depleted uranium is an issue that comes up all lot and is also an incredibly popular element in the munitions light tanks and take shells and artillery. there is a decided interest against pursuing that tough question. the issue is there is a lot of incidental information and lots of reyes nor increase of morbidity and disease rates were it was used and a lot of suspicion but not a lot of science. there are some studies that show a connection. but most people, even those who are skeptical on will say when they are honest the jury is still out.
you could see in the future they're becoming a body of evidence that shows the connection that this will become an incredibly important issue because not only did we use depleted uranium in the first gulf war but we and other countries use it now and the conflicts from iraq and afghanistan. it is simply a question for the future. i help that it is similar but focusing on you it could be the case. >> the above administration appointments to the virginia
suggest a change of policy on these issues. >> i think it is a mixed picture early on to people who were previously promised benefits then taken away. but still an awful lot of people in the military cannot get in. but the veterans health administration took a licking but kept on ticking during the bush years in toward the end they did everything they could to reinvent the the a of 1979 by taking it away from people on the field. i think there are signs that
the obama administration gets that but they also need desperately to get the information technology to work on claims processing because that is something that is totally broken and stays broken. there is a big fire in st. louis in 1973 that destroyed a lot of service records. there is a cottage industry just going around helping to people establish they were in vietnam or even the military. the handoff from the military to the fda has been a problem. they are getting better at integrating their records but they are still not there. the threshold for what people categorize mental
illness the changes from generation to generation of. i don't think the virginia is entirely up all. one of the things that it is confronted with this record numbers of recent events coming back of wanting and meeting mental-health services. again, they are hiring every actress they can find the still with the traumatic head injury is partly not the science there what to do about it that much. but there are deficits but the last budget raises the the a by aa% which is pretty good. >> i want to get a quick fire ask maybe three questions all at once and will try to get the panel to respond. >> please keep your
questions brief. >> my name is mary and i am with a national organization on disability. one thain that has not come up today has been and let me back up, i had the opportunity to work on a paper funded by the ford foundation on agent orange issues and the impact on veterans and received assistance from david adelstein and rick white man who just stepped out. what i researched with this steadies and the squashing if you will which is a harsh word to say, this quashing of the science and the challenges placed on the methodology is. i am curious about comments from the team up there on
that and how there have been statements about how science was done wrong and not just wrong like a mistake but on purpose and how might that provide another avenue or a vehicle to come to terms with this situation here for our veterans and families? but also as it relates back to the folks from vietnam? >> another question. >> i am the chairman of that agent orange committee for the the apec have a couple of comments first for dr. martin in the presumptive issues when you say may be called from the institute of medicine and uses different levels of association and which shows the different levels of
association and the secretary makes the determination of this presumptive are not. i want to point* that out. most of the issues are limited or adequate associations or no association but not maybe calls. the other issue i have to speak on and maybe the panel could reflect if they have knowledge of this. of the agent orange active 91 the proof of the purging is the implementation. there were some requirements to conduct clinical studies and collect clinical data. there it was issues to determine if there were issues with veteran as of today if you go to the virginia and ask for how many veterans that served have parkinson's disease come if they cannot break it out. because they only collect
data on the amount era veterans. and during the vietnam point* they were in germany or somewhere else. they cannot break out the clinical data so they never complied with that part of the loss limit we have to wrap up. is there a question? >> has the panel looked at any of the of information of the implementation of that each and/or jack? >> >> the category of scientific research addressing the issue of scientific research and the comments is a few noted in my presentation i did highlight the need for continuing scientific research something the vietnamese currencies as necessary and to a certain extent you see some interest
in that in the united states government. what is interesting the vietnamese population themselves present the opportunity to do the research that would establish causality between the links between certain medical conditions there is a potential wedding between the two to do with the population here in the united states and of the population of the vietnam. there is a third group and i would feel remiss which is vietnamese nationals relocate inside the united states. it is often a group that is missed in this issue. they lived in a vietnam during that time and have been exposed to agent george and dioxin they may not be veterans and not eligible and that the government of vietnam may not welcome them if they nationalized in the united states and there is a
sub population that may run into health problems that as of now we do not have a program that addresses their needs. needs. >> on the subject ofíu know what i know of is from him. but one thing that just astounds me is that the aid does have a wonderful electronic medical record system that is held up around the world. and yet apparently it lacks a field in the program were you can injure served in vietnam between 1963 and 1972. it would take an effort to go back and do that but this is an organization it converted from a pure paper record system to the digital system sure the we can put that little record in. you may not be able to do it
for every veteran but do it. bring it up to a size that you can do with reasonable generalizations. they do this and other bells. take the drug that killed more americans than died in vietnam. vioxx. they could see the clusters of heart attacks and that is what they had been common and realized it was vioxx progress seems you could do a lot of population health and not worry about randomized testing and difficult issues and all of the other stuff you can do it fast and cheap and i don't know why we don't do it. >> i think we have dealt with all questions the merry not yours. the issue of operation ranch hand. michael i don't know it's if you are on top of it.
we read your paper of this. and whether if you have any insight into her question? >> i am not a health care professional. but may stipulate that. my understanding of doing studies is basically predicated on the methodology used and a lot of statistical techniques are very similar. for those of you who have looked over my report, there were indications that methodology may not have been followed in a very rigorous fashion. on earlier studies and having said that i can establish that. to a certain extent, my view is rather than focus on studies done a number of years ago, the issue as i tried to indicate earlier is looking ahead to studies that could be done, should
be done to make the determination of medical conditions and with that in mind i can see three readily identifiable populations of vietnam, vietnamese american population relocated in the united states and the war veterans. >> to wrap up one of the lessons of retek away from putting this together is what we have in vietnam now is a situation where a lot of the geostrategic interest are lined in the sense with the moral interest that there is a very good argument that for u.s. national security interest, we ought to to do right and deal with this that like canada and panama panama, vietnam is a country
of increased importance and it is an issue that they care about. we have a moral obligation even if it is not something we would act on simply as a moral obligation. it is a great question. is be a non important enough that it would likely spur us to take a very difficult steps politically to begin to do with the issue of humanitarian aid to vietnam. i want to thank everybody for coming and our piano and my partner and all things for helping to put this together. and also all of the folks here at the new america foundation and thank you for coming very much. [applause]
>> what do date plan to do differently in read connection with the christmas bombing and it could another attack the eminent? >> i have never heard him express that kind of concern. as a former intelligence official himself, obviously he is a voracious consumer of intelligence. he is one who believes it is a vitally important component to our nation's security and one who cares very deeply about the health and capabilities of our intelligence community. obviously this department is the provider of the vast majority of the intelligence budget of this country. he is responsible for a large part of it as well. he pays close attention to
it. as to whether or not, at the first part of the question? >> what would he do differently? >> first and foremost this government is doing things differently as the president articulated yesterday. but guess what this department will do differently is something get to be determined. i am not sure there is anything that is readily apparent least with regards to this case that would illustrate there was a feeling within this department as to how we should have responded. with that said, given the fact he plays such a premium on the importance of intelligence come everybody responsible for that portfolio in this building is no doubt taking a much closer look at how they do business to make sure they are doing it to the secretaries and the president's satisfaction. i have not heard him in the
days since the attempted attack to articulate the need to our request anybody in this department to be doing things differently. obviously we do things around the world operationally that very much impact the security of this country whether it be in iraq or afghanistan door in operations taking place in other parts of the world, we're doing things in a very offensive manner to try to prevent any attack on our country again. the president was very clear in the days since christmas it is not just defense are what we can do defensively to protect citizens we need to be on the offense as well as we happen four years and certainly under the obama administration that has been the case back we have taken the fight to the terrorist
in iraq and afghanistan and/or any number of countries around the world. sometimes with support friends and allies by and with and through our partners around the world. >> centcom is looking $140 million for young men and training money double the last year. can you give us a sense of the approval process? is this fast-track door a part of the normal budget? to make the fy 10 budget was just appropriated by the congress before they recessed for the christmas holiday. that was welcome news and provides us with the money to stand on 12 '06 two build a partnership capacity and build a security forces so they can attend to these problems before they get to such a problem that it requires u.s. boots on the ground. so with regards to yemen there has been a steady
increase in our support came back to 2006 when we gave 4.6 million then 26 million yen 2008 net of the projects that have been proposed met the requirements but then again 2009 be provided $67 million. right now, as you heard from general petraeus recently come it is his desire to increase the funding significantly in light of the threat that is now post from within yemen. in light of the desire of the yemeni government to combat that threat. there is now a process under way within this building and within the interagency to determine how much is appropriated. there is a limited some roughly $350 million appropriated fy 10.
yemen is not the only country in need. traces have to be made and judgments have to be made their needs and vs. the balance of other countries but i think that process is under way right now and given the real threat that exist i think there'll be and of the -- ever to do that in the expedited fashion. i cannot give you a time. it is hard enough to get things done it a timely fashion within this building. it is a program that is to access. we do this in conjunction with the state department. i cannot tell you with any precision when it will take place but there is it clear to provide more financial assistance through 1206 funding so they can take on the threat but also other means to support them in the effort and fy 2009 they
received 28 million and four military financing and 1 million and military training and education and also counter-terrorism publisher program. we look for any and all means possible that we can be supportive of the many as government and their armed forces as a step up to the plate in a conservative fashion and brave fashion to take on this threat to. we're clear the interior edged by the fact the yemeni government seems extremely committed to dealing with this. there have been times in the past for the commitment has been less clear. and i think everyone at this point* is heartened by the fact there seems to be a real commitment to pursuing this terrorists within there midst. >> what was the secretary's
reaction to general flint monogram published as in terms of the substance and also the way that it was published? >> i have not spoken to him about this but i do know he has not read it yet it is in his in box but i don't think he has had a chance to read diddy at. or at least as i left the building last night he had not. but i think i can speak with some confidence even though he has not read the report based on my familiarity with him and in dealing with similar situations in the past, that the report itself, forget for a moment or put aside the venue of which it was published come is exactly the critical self assessment that the secretary believes is a sign for a strong and healthy organization. this kind of honest appraisal enriches what has
been a very real and a vigorous debate that frankly is taking place within this building or department four years. you all watch closely the most recently strategic assessment and pakistan you know, from the reporting that you did during the month that tenth place one of the fundamental discussions was the degree to which you balance counter-terrorism. and how do you best pursue the threats that emanate from afghanistan? there are those that believe we should be focused much more and those that believe we should wait it more towards counter-terrorism. that is at the root of what general flynn was talking about which is how do
deployed the intelligence assets to achieve you're objectives? and he obviously has some very strong opinions and 70 i know who has the respect of the secretary and his senior military command and i think he is dealing with something that is clearly critical to our success. intelligence is critical to our success there and intelligence over the year has been a challenge we have had to deal with. we are all open to suggestions about how we can do this better and quickly because time is of the essence. >> two expect the department to support the changes he is calling for? also the way it was before word? >> a think we're not from here going to micromanage our general mcchrystal is
what deploying intelligence assets. >> resources? >> i am not sure it requires additional resources. it is a question to take the assets that he has in uses them differently to achieve a different results and hopefully a better result. that is as i understand it. but if the determination is made, he needs more help poor resources on the intelligence side, i am sure that will be given the utmost attention. with regards to the venue, the outlet, obviously it is a little unconventional. and clearly took some people by surprise there are more traditional means to disseminate this information but i have not heard anybody internally voice too much
concerned. >> i frankly don't know if he is aware of it. it is in his in box and he has not had a chance to read it yet and he has seen some reporting on it but i have not heard whether or not he is surprised about the choice of using a think tank to share these concerns. you should know by way of context of course, that the think tank in particular is one that has devoted a lot of time and energy and resources to examining these types of issues and play their role as did several others in the assessment -- assessment that general mcchrystal did this summer. it is not entirely out of the blue that general flynn would choose to shoes
shoes -- choose to share his opinion to that outlet but others could be considered as well. >> and also with the gitmo detainee it was up 14%. there is a lot of interest in the subject since two detainees have ended up as leaders of al qaeda. we hear it is closer at 20%. can you confirm that? >> i cannot. i don't have any new numbers to share at this point*. those products that you know, we do try to keep close tabs on this detainee is who we have transferred from guantanamo back to the home country or third country. the last report that read the classified as you mentioned, was what we
provided in me which reflected the increase in recidivism from 11 percent up at 14%. we clearly have been doing our best to keep tabs on anyone who may have returned to the fight in a confirmed fashion or suspected fashion but i cannot give you the numbers other than to say i do not believe it reversed itself. there clearly was a trend one showed 11% and another showed 14%. i don't think that trend has reversed itself. >> you will lead tankers to fly. [laughter] >> 1 foot no. i know you're interested in this objective is clear to us.
we deal with this every time there is rumors and reports of the updated dia report on this subject and we're working to get the unclassified version two as soon as possible. we are aware of your interest and working to provide. put that in a column of working to be a good guide this new year. thank you spend a final request proposal? >> yes. of the answer to that is we're shooting to have it out hopefully by the end of the month if not early next month. we're in the process right now of reviewing the comments provided i think the deadline was november. from the competing companies as well as congress. we're in the midst of reviewing those comments but
i think we are still on schedule to get this out in the next few weeks. but no final decisions have been made yet about the rp but i think it is safe to say at this point* i think there will be changes to the draft. that is the nature to put it out there to give it feedback to make it helpful. some of this we just have realized ourselves so i think the team is in the process of correcting mistakes and altering the acquisition strategy and that will be reflected in the final request for a proposal that will likely go out and the next couple of few weeks. i would add one thing that would never changes are being made should not be construed as any attempt to favor anybody.
it is what is being done is we are trying to make the rfp as fair and as transparent as possible while at the same time providing the tax payers with the best value for their money and the war fighters the best plane to support their operations. that is where we are at this point*. we hope that when this happens we will have a full and hardy and thorough competition between multiple bidders we hope so. it is a very, very lucrative contract. we certainly hope they will reconsider the decisions about whether or not to to bid for this replacement tanker. there is a lot of money to be made for whoever the
winner is. also a clearly patriotic element to the urgent need and we need the best companies competing to provide the best in support of the operation. >> taking a the fight last night about the feeding the network's he talked about afghanistan, pakistan and come with taking the fight to somalia, yemen, a detroit, a fort hood hood, whether these are al qaeda affiliate's or al qaeda inspired, when you look at what has happened in the last few months or the year ahead is a still the secretary duty to think u.s. government has al qaeda on the run? because it seems that the list is growing. >> i think he clearly believes we have made
enormous progress against al qaeda. if you just go back and look, i will answer your question in full. i promise but is springs to mind the progress made in iraq. we have one soldier killed yesterday. but that is the first soldier we have had died in combat since november. by my calculation over the past six months the combat death total is 14. that is a stark contrast to the reality of the situation when i took a job in the summer 2007 when we probably lost 100 people that month. the situation in iraq although still high-profile attacks have been executed by a credit going back august, october, december, t here is no question that al qaeda in iraq has been severely debilitated.
they have to husband resources and executed tax on a much less frequent basis then they would prefer. it is interesting that public opinion seems to be among the iraqis had there is still strong support for the iraqi government and confidence of the security forces and no sympathy engendered by these attacks. that is iraq. afghanistan clearly the situation has deteriorated over the past few years since that the additional resources commitment by the president of this year and the subsequent 30,000 he has pledged come everybody has a high degree of confidence we will turn the tide against the taliban al qaeda and other associated extremist within the coming months.
broadening the view around the world there have been strides made elsewhere. that is evidenced and the white house has noted several over the past few days but clearly there is a real terrorist threat two whether it be al qaeda or its affiliates. they remain very much a threat to the american people and allies around the world. that is why we still have 110,000 forces in iraq and u.s. forces in afghanistan and we have forces in support their. they remain a threat to even as we may -- make progress against them. we cannot let down our guard or for a minute pause to patter sells on the back with regards to progress
that has been made berkeley have to continue to keep up the fight and that is but the forces are continue to doing in this building. absolutely. >> since we may not see the secretary this week in a press conference, can we ask you to take the question to him for his reaction on general flynn reports and get an answer? this seems extraordinary given his views about making intelligence information public and the recommendations are things that should be handled privately for the appropriate government officials, it seems extraordinary, i know you don't know but it is extraordinary he would not have a view. could we ask you? >> i shared with you what i believe to be his view but the question you asking is slightly different but the choice of venue in which to publish this report?
>> both. >> listen. that is correct for croix also said i have a high degree of confidence that a good sense of how he would view this type of self analysis are candid self appraisal. but i anticipate talking to him about this and if i get an answer i will get back to you. >> too publicly publish. >> can you confirm the nuclear posturing will be delayed? if so, why is that? and if the pentagon and the lighthouse are on the same page? ic reports that suggest the country with force reductions be met with nuclear weapons? i can tell you with all of the review is going on until they we have had a convergence of so many reviews being done at the same time but it looks like
we're in the final stages come in the end game of the fy 11 budget and the ballistic missile defense review. lagging a little behind is the nuclear posture review and the state's review. that is the status as i know it right now. there is still some work to be begun in the coming days and weeks of the secretary is hosting the commanders and a senior dieter ship of this department for discussion another conference and the part two the meeting will clearly be devoted to going over the fy 11 budget, thank you d.r. as well as some discussion of the cyber threat.
that is the status report as i know it right now. not that i am aware of. >> back on gitmo you do have a seat in the furrow. >> i know. >> you said the train continues to increase by why do you think that has happened? >> it has not reversed. >> the increasing trend in continues in that direction. why do you think that is happening and how significant and what is the u.s. doing to try to prevent that? >> i don't think the situation, i don't think the dynamic has changed from what it was when we spoke about this last time i think it april or may. that is that as we have reduced the population at guantanamo bay, we're down to just below 200 detainee's
in the history of that facility, we had more than 750 there throughout its history. we at least have transferred out to roughly 550 odd people to date. and i think that is a very painstaking and difficult process that we go through where we intensely scrutinized each and every case individually and assess the merits and a security risk and what the situation is back in the home country and make a determination whether it is wise to transfer each individual back home or to a third country. some of the initial cases
where more obvious than others. somewhere redeem to be less of a threat than others but as we get down to the final couple of hundred come of these are clearly very difficult cases. that is why the president issued an executive order the first full day of office commanding that this government get together and work together to figure out the best disposition of these detainees. we're working with the department of justice and state department to review to make a determination whether it is possible to transfer some of these remaining 200 or 198 back to their home countries. there was intense scrutiny in the past just as now. but this is an inexact science. we're making subjective calls based upon
judgment, intelligence, and there is no foolproof answer in this role. that is a makes this so difficult. we have to make our best assessment with the information that we have both with regards to the individual and the home country in terms of their ability to either continue to do detained or monitor a post the attention of these individuals practice it is a very difficult call. the calls made in the past, although i said this trade has not reversed itself, and even 14% is concerning, clearly based on that percentage the vast majority of those who have transferred have not returned. with that said, even one is
a problem so we are taking extraordinary measures to try to mitigate the risk associated to transfer the detainee's. >> how long have you had the latest report and how long has it been completed? >> i am not sure. >> if you really want to go through though holt make a sauce this aspect program not sure the number itself the number of people interested in the key thing in terms of classification but whenever we have released numbers in the past there has been a human cry that prove it. show us examples where more have returned to the fight. that is required us to that individuals and names and the evidence that we have that leads us to believe they have done so or suspected of doing so.
that often requires us to make assessments about whether or not we put at risk and resources or methods of determining that information. i don't think we want to cut you and give you half a loaf knowing full well you wanted the full thing. we're working to get it done in one fell swoop so not just have the updated information but the name and circumstances that support it. >> what is 20%? is that a failure? how well these guys will be when they go back? >> i will not give specific numbers. but obviously whether a 11 or 14 or one, we want to do everything we possibly can to protect the american people and friends and
allies around the world. we don't want to put anybody at additional risk so we have taken great care in the past and we will continue to do so to try to minimize any risk associated with transferring detainee's for as you saw yesterday from the president himself, they will not, for example, be any transfers of the remaining yemeni detainee is, the ones that are still at guantanamo. at least as the current situation and stands. we are clearly concerned about what happens to these individuals after they leave their detention facility. the president has made said point* nine of the amadeus should be transferred while the situation back in that country is still very much in flux while the government has its hands full trying to
take the fight away from the terrorist the decision has been made not to transfer any more individuals back. >> that creates more problems for you. [inaudible] it. >> finding a place? they have a place right now. >> does it slip even further out after that. >> you heard from the president very clearly yesterday and it is strongly supported by secretary gates that the detention facility at guantanamo bay will be closed. it is not a question of if but when. i would remind you that one of the reasons we are not able to move forward to close guantanamo and move to illinois for example, the
congress adjourned for their recess without providing for us either the money your the authority to make such a transfer. to make such a change for housing these detainees. right now we're left without the money or the authority to move detainee's from guantanamo bay. first things first, come the new year with congress reconvening, i am sure the administration will be working aggressively with them to try to get both the funding and the authority to get the process. >> obviously we still have 91 amadeus that we have to move. that does change the dynamic and the calculation. that is something that has to be taken into account as well. >> according to some reports
some of those on the street in yemen and pakistan at the same time there is a concern today with al qaeda or pakistan this is still three been the same center from al qaeda? >> defenders of the first question your point* is there are yemenis who have been transferred from guantanamo who have popped up elsewhere? and pakistan as well. obviously when we transferred detainee's we do our best to obtain assurances from the host government they will either continue to detain or a monitor these individuals effectively. obviously that has not always been the case in the
past and we have a knowledge at and put pressure on the government's two tried to do better. i have made it clear and the secretary of state has done so recently that although we are hard to and by the yemeni response lately, it has not always been consistent. there have been instances in the past, one it well-publicized of all things the bombers that were imprisoned and then escaped. there needs to be better accounting of the detainee's. and we are working with the yemeni government and other governments to help them be able to do this kind of thing better than what they have done in the past. >> disinformation is already out there but do we know when, lead sheik muhammed will be tried to make our move to new york? >> do you know, how many were delivered to afghanistan last year?
folks as well as centcom and they have a priority list based on terms of space available, what has the top priority to flow in at what time. i can tell you this, it is our goal come this spring we will be spending over 500 a month. i don't think we are at the point we do see that we can check on that for you. yes, chris. >> in light of the -- in light of the suicide bombing at the cia base in afghanistan or any directives going on to the military bases military intelligence officers to take a second look at their sources in which they bring informant on the base.
>> good question. i have not heard of any directive on high in this building. i would not all be surprised if general mcchrystal and his team are below that in the have put up that cost shared or even particular directives but i would urge you to talk to the folks in kabul on that but i have not heard of any such warning coming from here. >> the japanese government and the leading parties set up a panel to look into all of the replacement facilities and they say they'd make the decision by may. what is the reaction of the dod to the developments in japan? >> i can tell you it has been conveyed by the government of japan that it has concluded we will not be able to reach an expeditious decision on implementation of a realignment road map.
as with that said we continue to hope and the government will reach a positive conclusion on the replacement facilities as soon as possible. so that updated timeline has indeed been shared with us. it is not the preferred time line as far as we are concerned. we have got a lot of work to do and not a lot time, and so we just hope they can come to some resolution on this as quickly as possible so we can get back on track in terms of the overall not just the replacement facility but the overall realignment roadmap agreement. okay? >> donna. >> i'm curious as the strategy is taking place in afghanistan and the search troops going in what are the implications of two other important pieces to this whole picture?
the stelle made a few well within the afghan government and also the slowness of the civilian volunteers to be that civilian surge that needs to go in. >> i don't think i would characterize it as the slowness in the civilian surge. i think as you have heard from secretary clinton as recently as testimony from secretary gates last month they anticipate having 1,000 additional 1,000 total since president obama came to office and announced the way ahead in afghanistan back in march by i think this month i hope to have 1,000 total civilians in support of our operations in afghanistan. talk to the state department to get the specific date by which they would. one thing that is obviously appeals in comparison to the roughly 100,000 forces we will eventually have in afghanistan
but one thing she and secretary gates have noted quite often is that it is a bit of comparison of apples to oranges because the civilian component is a force multiplier and the rough numbers they use is for every civilian, u.s. civilian you send over you hire probably ten afghans so 1,000 is effectively 10,000 additional people helping to support the afghan people with regard to developing the governance and judicial and financial structures so that's that part of the question. the first part of the question was -- >> the karzai government -- >> i think again this is one that is also better directed to the state department i think it is probably a sign of some progress house odd as that may sound that there is a healthy give-and-take between the branches of government and in a space afghanistan where the
parliament, the legislature is saying we are not going to necessarily rubber-stamp the president's cabinet choices. we have checks and balances here, the congress has to confirm every cabinet selection here and a similar thing is going on there. with that said we have a process as quickly as possible because the government in afghanistan is something that needs to improve quickly and the longer there is limbo the more difficult that becomes. yes, go ahead. >> [inaudible] -- about to happen in yemen and the u.s. but already some of the top leaders pushed back of the exact level of taking from the u.s. and and and -- does that told the u.s. caused with
operations to help identify [inaudible] >> i haven't seen the comments which you refer. i've seen other comments from the many military or civilian leaders that suggest just the opposite that indeed they are welcoming of assistance. obviously this is a sovereign country that is proud and wants to confront this threat themselves and we are encouraging of that and that is why we are trying to provide whatever assistance we can and they are receptive to so they have the ability to confront this and it does not degenerate into a situation that requires additional assistance from us. >> [inaudible] -- agreement with the u.s. to allow the u.s. to conduct air strikes from warplanes were
drawn for missiles. que pushback saying only military advisers. >> i would obviously not confirm any of those reports. our form of assistance i would characterize our form of assistance to yemen has been on a bike, with and through basis. we are there to provide -- we are providing to them security assistance, intelligence assistance cut training assistance, the kinds of things that will help them be able to confront this threat by themselves so as in many other countries around the world we are working by, with and through their military opinion, and i would not comment on any reports of any other involvement. we've got a couple more we will get out of here. >> is it accurate to say the pentagon provide the white house the classified update on the
gitmo detainee recidivism? >> i frankly don't know how widely this has been shared. it wouldn't surprise me. i can't confirm that for you. okay? are we good? >> [inaudible] >> what was the second part? >> -- pakistan to afghanistan because this incident, that reason afghanistan and pakistan at the site [inaudible] >> there is no question that pakistan-afghanistan border region is clearly the heartland of al qaeda and associated sympathetic terrorist militant groups. that is why you will soon have 100,000 u.s. forces in afghanistan. it's why you will have tens of thousands of additional coalition forces. that is why, for example, the
pakistani military has roughly 200,000 of their forces along the western border. people forget that. that's roughly 15% of the pakistani military has over the past several months repositioned along the western border and has taken the fight to the terrorists they're both in the swat and south waziristan and they have done so with great success but also extraordinary price. they've lost in the last two years they have had 2,000 casualties to the pakistani military, pakistani government is cognizant of the fact that is the epicenter of terrorism in that region and that is reflected in the commitment they have shown militarily to dealing with a threat along the border. >> pakistanis are against more u.s. troops in afghanistan? >> say that again.
>> -- against u.s. troops in afghanistan to the estimate pakistan as against more u.s. troops in afghanistan? well, listen, we are always consulting with all of our regional partners about how best to proceed in afghanistan. they were clearly part of the discussions that took place leading up to the president's decision to deploy more forces and i'm also sure i would agree with your characterization of the support or lack thereof but clearly the president made the decision was in the interest of this country and president karzai for there to be more u.s. boots on the ground to assist and stabilize that country. last question. >> i want to follow up briefly on the u.s.-japan relations. assistance secretary is meeting today with former defense minister. do you -- >> [inaudible] -- he has a lunch to get to. >> do you know what --
>> on missile you can leave at any point. i don't take -- despite the fact -- despite the fact i don't take offense. >> neither do i. three suspect he's meeting with somebody from japan you are singing. some of the foreign minister defense, what is the duty hope to achieve from the idea aside from a meeting with what is now an opposition party? >> i'm not aware of such a meeting. i will have to check into it. thank you. happy new year.
now available c-span book abraham lincoln great american historians on our 16th president. a great read for any history buff. it's a unique contemporary perspectives from 56 scholars, journalists and writers from lincoln's early years to his life in the white house and relevance today. abraham lincoln in hardcover at your favorite bookseller and now in digital audio to listen to any time available where digital audio downloads are sold. we're more apt mcchrystal. months before national elections, members of britain's governing labor party asked for a secret ballot on the leadership of prime minister gordon brown. this was announced after this morning's session of the prime minister's questions at the house of commons. from london, this is for 30
minutes. >> order. questions to the prime minister. >> number one, mr. speaker the -- mr. speaker, before listing my engagements, sure that the whole house will wish to join me in paying tribute to the soldiers who've lost their lives in afghanistan since the house last met. they are from three engineer regiment ordinance disposal been set for david watson. from second battalion duke of lancaster regiment. the anglican regiment robert hayes from the parachute regiment brown, from the third christopher rooney, the rifleman and forth regimen military police. lance corporal michael pritchard. our thoughts are with the family and friends who can be rightly proud of the courage, dedication, the bravery and the
sacrifice that is being shown by these men and that sacrifice will never be forgotten. we have been reminded once again since the house last met there are those who seek to harm us with terrorist incidents. we must remain vigilant and ever grateful to all of those serving in afghanistan and around the world working for the safety of the british people. mr. speaker i know the house will also want to join in sending our condolences to the wife and children of david taylor. she was a tremendous constituency member of parliament who deserved the backbencher of the year for his tireless work for the people of northwest. he will be greatly missed not only by his family here in the house today but by colleagues here in west minister and all of his constituents. mr. speaker this morning the meetings with colleagues and others in addition to my duties
in the house i shall have further meetings later today. >> thank you, mr. speaker i would of course and was all that my friend says and does that is the lead to sacrifice of dying for their country. i would also want to say something about those who have died as a result of taking heroin in the waste of scotland all harvested in afghanistan and also would want to pay tribute to the honorable friend, my honorable friend and confidante who served in this house assiduously and gave his all in the constituency as well. i thought maybe it turned to the question can my honorable friend give an update on the situation regarding the terrorist incident traveling between scibona and amsterdam and detroit? >> i think the whole house would
echo what he says about the damage done in our country by drugs that come from afghanistan and i would be happy to meet him to talk about these issues. since the christmas day incident at detroit we have as a home secretary reporter to this house yesterday taken a number of actions in key areas. our aviation security the first of a new generation of full body scanners will be in operation within a few weeks and then over time in airports across the divided kingdom. while the person who was involved in the detroit incident was refused a visa and not on the watch list it was on the watch list we are never the less revealing and enhancing our watch list arrangements and giving the changing security nature i've asked the cabinet secretary to insure any lessons learned from the recent events should be considered and whether we can further and better coordinate and integrate the work of the intelligence services and the service available to us from them. >> david cameron. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
can i join the prime minister paid tribute to the seven british servicemen who lost their lives since the last prime ministers questions? private hayes, david watson, rifleman in how well, lance corporal tallman rahm collis corporal kristopher rediker lance corporal michael pritchard and corporal simon. they died serving the country and we must always honor their memory and look after their families. i also join the prime minister in paying tribute to david taylor and his contribution to the public service. we to mix and our condolences to his wife and children. he was diligent, decent and determined as one put it i thought brilliantly he was the rare thing amongst the politicians, someone who is like-minded and equally by his constituents, his parliamentary colleagues and his political opponents and he will be sadly missed. this year the government will have to borrow 178 billion pounds. yesterday one of the largest holders of the government debt
warned the british debt is likely to be downgraded. the oecd cbi and bank of england have all weren't there is no proper plan to deal with this deficit. why does the prime minister think all these people take that view? >> first of all mr. speaker let us put this in context the debt of every country has risen as a result of a global financial recession and debt in britain is actually low word as a percentage of the national income than america. it's lower than france and germany and it is lower than italy and japan and the average for the euro area. so every country faces the difficulty of taking its country out of recession while at the same time having to develop a deficit reduction plan. i would tell him first of all we will not stop the fiscal stimulus before we are out of recession and we will not take his advice and leave the economy
without the support that is necessary and if we had to get his advice many thousands more would be unemployed and many thousand businesses would be lost. what we have publishes a deficit reduction plan. let me just -- it includes raising the top rate of tax. i assume he now supports that. raises the national insurance so that we can find our health and public services. i assume he has got to consider that as well. it does not include cutting inheritance tax and costing 1.5 billion for the 3,000 richest families in the country. it includes cuts in the major departments but it includes defending the front line services of health, education and policing. a must say, mr. speaker for him for the tomb to ask me about questions when he said was the year of change he changed his policy in the morning, he changed his policy in the afternoon and he changed his policy in the evening.
>> the prime minister talks about the context, the context is the biggest budget deficit of any advanced economy in the world. let us be clear about what these people say about the government's plans. the cbi says the government's plans are too little, too late. the governor of the bank of england says there is no credible plan. the oecd says more ambitious plans would strengthen the recovery. howard davis, the man the prime minister appointed as the head of the financial services authorities said the loss of confidence in the government ability to get the public finances back under control is the major risk facing this country and he said that after the pre-budget report. so let me ask him again why does he think all of these people think that his plans are so feeble? >> mr. speaker, the government of the bank of england, the very significant policy actions taken since the recent months would
stimulate recovery command output and employment. the imf, the u.k. has shown a lot of leadership. that is the managing director of the imf. the u.k. authority policy response to the deep recession has been bold and wild ranging and the aggressive actions by the authorities have been successful in containing the crisis and averting a systemic breakdown. i could go through the oecd, the fiscal stimulus downturn. mr. speaker it comes down to this if we had taken his advice there would be no action and on and plan would have risen much faster. if we had taken his advice to 200,000 small businesses that have benefited wouldn't have benefited. if we had taken his advice we would be back to the 90's mortgage misery with repossession. every decision on the recession and recovery that party got wrong. >> the fact is -- the fact is
this chancellor is not taken our advice. he said you can only get growth when you deal with a deficit with the prime minister tells about his fiscal responsibility act. it is completely feeble. what is required isn't an act of parliament that an act of political will. the man that i minister appointed to the bank of england said this about fiscal responsibility act. they are, he said, acts of the fiscally responsible to, the public. isn't the reason for the lack of faith in the government's plans that the prime minister personally is so incapable of admitting what everyone knows to be true that there is a need for cuts to be made? on sunday he said -- he said public spending will rise by 1.8% in real terms each year. given that everybody knows cuts in the department of spending are necessary wilson that completely disingenuous? >> mr. speaker the person misleading the public was the
right honorable gentleman on monday and out the allowances. he said on monday morning one thing monday afternoon something different. on monday evening something different and then the member who floated the policy, the former leader of the conservative party said he had a private insurance of 4.9 billion. now, mr. speaker if he wishes to reduce the deficit presumably he doesn't want to spend 4.9 billion pounds on america. if he wishes to reduce the deficit presumably he will go ahead with a national insurance tax rights we are proposing if he wishes to reduce the deficit he would go ahead with his inheritance tax proposal which is his only pledge. we are reducing the deficit with a plan that includes tax rises, departmental kutz and protecting the front line services, the conservatives would be cutting education services, they would be cutting the main service in the country. their policies are a change back
to the 1980's >> can i say to the members on both sides we are not on hot springs now. [laughter] i wish we were. i wish this minister had the courage to call the election. i have to say mr. speaker what a lot of desperate rubbish. i thought -- i thought he might mention marriage so that we say this to him the difference between me and the prime minister is this when i lean across and say i love you, darling i really mean it. [laughter]
the only the force that has taken place between the spry minister and reality. let's take his claim that spending is going up by 1.8%. isn't the only way that he is able to make that is to exclude capital spending which he has actually cut in half? is in that completely disingenuous? >> for him to talk about love and marriage today when he is the person who cannot give a straight answer on the allowance whether he can't say i do or i don't. and mr. speaker as for public will he give us a straight answer now, is his deficit-reduction plan including 4.9 million to be spent on the married couples allowance, 1.5 billion to be spent on the inheritance tax not going ahead
with the national insurance rights? that is why everybody thinks that there is a gap in his proposals? he cannot go around the country promising everything to everyone. he's got to face up to the fact that his policies are only fit for a position and not for government. >> i have to say to the prime minister if he wants to turn this around and make it prime minister's questions get on and call the election. then there would be all the time in the world to kiss and make up because the fact is this government is now deeply divided. everyone knows the chancellor wanted to reduce the deficit more quickly. everyone knows the business sector goes around the country privately attacking the pbr as a complete failure and perhaps the prime minister could name one of a backbencher on the labour side who stood up and spoke for his bill last night. not a single one. doesn't he understand -- doesn't he understand that a divided party without a proper plan is putting britain's recovery at
risk? isn't at the height of irresponsibility and why is he always incapable of doing the right thing? >> mr. speaker let me give another example. last night he was asked are you committed to educational maintenance allowances. what was his answer? let's just say i am not on committed to it. he said. [laughter] he then said well we are in a state of quite severe flux on this whole area so why can't give you a straight answer. is this an opposition party ready for government? they should go back to the drawing board and think again. >> the fact is the appalling state of the public finances and the prime minister's complete inability to have a proper plan shows the great truth of the british politics. he has had two years to demonstrate leadership and he's completely failed to do so. he can't convince business or the financial markets. he can't even convince his own
chancellor is it any wonder he eats out his time as an unelected leader completely incapable of come fencing the country? >> he's quite have to do better than that. he's been to have to answer some questions on policy some time. he got it wrong on the nationalization. he got it wrong on the fiscal stimulus for the recovery. he got it wrong on helping the unemployed and on helping homeowners. he got it wrong on small businesses. every issue of the recession wrong. nobody will trust him on just on the married couples allowance but nobody will trust him on the economy at all. >> order. >> on the conflict that left 1400 palestinians dead the siege continues, humanitarian relief is hard to come by and gauze of lies shattered. although the audacity lies on
both sides does my honorable friend agree with me that what is now happening if the collective punishment of 1 million people and what he now make urgent representations to aid the siege on gazzo as a critical step toward a peace settlement? >> my friend is absolutely right and she speaks with many people on this. we must, forget the people of gazzo. ivies rutka minister netanyahu the aid and humanitarian resistance can get into gaza. we are pressing the government to do more that they can to get more aid and i will get exactly the points that she has made and see what more we can do in this new year. in the and this will require a political settlement between israel and the palestinian state which gives israel security and palestine a viable economic state that can manage but in the meantime we must avoid unnecessary suffering. >> i would also like to add my own expressions of profound sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of the brave
british soldiers who lost their lives serving in afghanistan since the house. captain simon lance corporal michael pritchard, lance corporal kristopher rooney, lance corporal tommy brown, aid and how will, david watson and private robert hayes and also to my own tribute to david tayler who sadly died during the christmas recess. on was once one of the ndp is and he had a reputation them and always has as an outstanding constituency and as someone who always, always spoke his own mind. my heart goes out to his wife and his four daughters. mr. speaker last weekend the prime minister said he was in favor of aspirations. could he explain exactly what his aspirations about the tax system he has created where the poorest 20% pay more from their income in tax than the richest
20%? >> mr. speaker does because of all these things we introduced in the tax credit system. the tax credit system is the means by which we take people out of poverty and freeboard the work for people who are in work and for people who pay income tax it removes the liability by giving them tax credits instead. it is the means by which we bring greater justice, taking people out of poverty and making the work pay and i hope he would continue to support the tax credit system which is an essential part of the tax and benefit system in this country. estimate it talks about justice. he hasn't delivered justice or fairness. he's the one who scrapped the rate. it is his rules that allow a city banker to pay less tax on the capitol gains on their wages. he is about to hit millions of average earners with higher national insurance bills. what is the fairness? where is the aspiration in any of that? >> the aspiration is helping
people into jobs, in giving people the chance to earn a decent living and making sure the tax system is fair it's presumably he will now support the 50% tax on bonuses for banks and support raising the top rate of tax to 50% and support removing the pension tax reliefs we are doing as very much part of the deficit reduction plan. what we have tried to do is to say that in these difficult times as we make changes the burden has got to be shared fairly and that means those are going to pay more. i hope he will agree with that >> [inaudible] the concern i have about apprentices aged over 26 in education college in urgent talks to secure the funding they need to continue their training. there was the recent audit. will he do all he can to make
sure the [inaudible] regional development agency will work closely to find an urgent solution so that all apprentices can get full funding? >> it is our intention even in these difficult times when companies may not be in the position to keep on apprentices' we will find alternative sources of employment for them and make sure the colleges continue to train them so i will precisely the issue you raise. as far as the reach generation pergamus concerned the national audit recommendations have been acted on, funding from the regeneration program has already been allocated and over half a million of that is committed to projects doubletree and individuals. so i hope she will find some of the answers are found in the decisions that have already been made but i will specifically look at the apprentices
question. there were 70,000 apprentices in 1997. there's a quarter of the island now. no government has done more to revive the printers and we are not going to let the apprentice chips fall during this recession >> i'm very worried about the government plans to move public sector jobs out of the southeast. in response to a question at a previous time in the house he said there might be compensation steps. does the prime minister have any positive views about what steps might be? >> i do understand the integration in its constituency. obviously what we are looking at is how we can relocate some jobs out of the southeast in a way that would save money and spreading employment across the country. the line suggested 20,000 jobs be relocated. that is already happened and we are looking at what more we can do but i think he will also understand the work at the london development agency and the work done in london is means by which the insurer there's
creation of jobs in london and we are always looking what we can do to create more jobs in this capital city. >> to my honorable friend [inaudible] -- from our constituents to the doctors and nurses meeting exact targets. today we reported because of the use of more people surviving cancer more are prone to health problems. what can my friend do to ensure they get the advice and help? >> the macmillan board is something very special in our country and very much appreciated. i believe the advances we are making in cancer care particularly if people are detected early and particularly if people are able to go through the screening process it means lots of lives otherwise lost are being saved but i appreciate there is after care and there is considerable aftercare necessary even after many years and i'm determined we continue to support it. i would have to say though that
the best way we can help deal with cancer problems in our country is to make sure we do not lose the guarantee that you can see a specialist immediately and to move toward the one we guarantee that you will be diagnosed and given the answers within seven days. that requires money and determination to spend in the right place. we are determined and i hope no party seeks to abolish that. >> thank you. given the technology is vital and allowing this to stay one step ahead of the terrorist threat why has the government spending on defense research by 23% over the last three years? is interesting a couple of scanners yet another review a little too little too late? >> mr. speaker we of increased spending on security from 1 billion in 2001 to more than 3 billion we have increased counterterrorism capabilities massively as a result of making the right decisions. we doubled the number of security staff at the number of
police associated with counterterrorism work. we are introducing the border system which is a means by which we can catch those coming to this country. i don't think any government has done more to increase the counterterrorism capability in this country and he's right because our first duty is the security of the citizens. >> thank you mr. speaker. given the disappointing finish to the copenhagen conference what action can my honorable friend tell us he will be taking in order to keep the momentum up on this absolutely vital task of climate change? >> mr. speaker, for the first time the world was able to agree that we should not have a climate change policy that did not address the problems of rising temperatures and the 2% limit was agreed by all countries. we also have agreement countries will notify what they will do by 2020 and they've got to do so by january 31st. we are obviously pressing countries to be in the position they can reduce the amount of gigatons in carbon and
greenhouse gas emissions from the mid 50's in 2020 to the mid 40's and there has been a great transparency achieved with every country agreeing to report what they are doing that we have not yet got the international duty that we need and we haven't yet got the announcement from all countries they support the 50% reduction by 2015. that is what is still to be done and i agree we must not talk to all those countries reluctant to come to these talks with a view of getting a treaty to persuade them it is necessary. i think she will see further announcements the next few days about what we are going to do. >> mr. speaker bearing in mind the failure of copenhagen and the current weather cycle which clearly indicates a cooling trend -- [laughter] -- will the prime minister -- >> order. the north to become more noise
the less progress we make. >> will the prime minister reconsider the proposed wasteful expenditure per of 100 billion pounds on offshore wind farms which will be incapable of delivering sufficient energy but will result in excess of we exorbitant charges for electricity users? [laughter] >> mr. speaker the idea they could take a lead on climate change when they can't even convince their own of what is necessary. they can't make up their mind about nuclear and now offshore wind. we are the leading power in the world for offshore wind. we will soon be making announcements that will make it clear message numbers of jobs will come as a result of offshore wind. it is the right policy if we are going to have 15% renewables by 2020. i cannot understand where the conservative energy policy comes from if they take out nuclear
and they take out offshore wind and every conservative local authority is opposing onshore wind as well. they have no policy whatsoever. >> it is not 27 months [inaudible] paray ask the prime minister what work is being done across the government to address this and when can we expect progress? >> as he knows there were meetings of advisers that to place the last few weeks. i think that he's part of the next week. i hope to get a resolution to what is a very dreadful disease and we can do about it and also to do with a problem that arises. >> michael spicer. >> now we face stagflation. what is he going to do about it? >> mr. speaker if he is suggesting we are going to have the levels of inflation we had in the conservative years he is completely wrong.
inflation is low in this country. we've kept it will the last 12 years. the idea the conservative party's lead run campaign saying inflation is when to be the highest in the world is quite ridiculous. >> yesterday's announcement was welcome in my constituency and positively welcomed by companies like xanax who are the age of this technology. can my honorable friend confirmed not only will it provide this access scheme but also encourage retrofitting which companies can do and do well to reduce the carbon footprint? >> she's absolutely right. it will help 125,000 households and it's already showing that it is popular and will cut carbon emissions. the retrofitting measures such as insulation will play an increasingly important role and i must draw people's attention also to the fact cold weather payments to those affected by
the cold weather right across the country in many areas including london from january 4th and 6.9 million already made of 25 pounds a week. we are doing our best to help people through the difficult winter weather and continue to do what we can to ensure elderly people in particular will turn up their heating and not allow themselves to suffer from the cold. >> the severe weather continuing for the next five days which is particularly hit my constituency badly what action is the government taking now to make sure this applies of salt and grit are going to get to where the need most including the stockpiles held by the highways agency. >> she's absolutely right. i think the whole house wants to be assured in this difficult period where some areas are more hit than others those areas that need to grip the roads will have the salt necessary to do so and all the support of their local authorities who are also
affected and central government can give them and i can assure first of all salt supplies are built up as a result of what we've discovered and what we did last year. at the same time i can announce there will be greater coordination of the distribution of salt so that those areas who need that salt will not be denied and i hope i will be able to reassure her constituents they will get the salt and grit necessary. >> the leader of the house has written to representatives of the other parties, the governor is key to proceed on the convention places. >> u.k. politics has become ever more the private playground of governments and media and ever more backdrop with little independence. will the prime minister take the power he has to bring forward the agenda not for debate but for decisions the proposals to
reform this house will he please do that in the next few weeks? >> i think it is an all-out interest to say it will be the standard of debate in this house and what is discussed in this house should reflect what are the views and values of the people of this country. and all of us want in this new year to make sure the house is discussing the issues that matter to people as far as the issue of the select committee report will welcome the select committee report. i know he's a longstanding interest in these institutional reforms. the creation of a backbench committee of the business committee, party ballots all of these are looked at in detail and the leader of the house has made clear we will have an opportunity to make a debate on these into coarse and discuss these recommendations. spectated heath. >> we have been waiting now for weeks three is in this typical of this government and this prime minister? he makes a big announcement june 10th of last year we are going to have urgent reform in the house of commons when it comes to action, the government
acts particularly this log on its way to its own funeral. will he tell us is he still committed on reforming this an effective or are there people his own bench stopping it happening? >> it gives me great deal of hope that the approach is going to work. mr. speaker think he's part of the talks. the talks that are taking place, the issues about the creation of a business community party delegates for select membership, ballots of the house select chairmanship these are issues recommended by the committee chaired by the chairman of the public administration committee these are issues we are not discussing from the subject and decisions by this house petraeus mckeithen watching primm ministers questions from london. you can see it again sunday night at nine eastern and pacific on c-span.
the economic policies of the first year of the obama administration are discussed by a panel at the american economic association. donald kohn assistant treasury secretary alan krueger and economist martin feldstein are among those talking about the economy. >> this is the andrew brimmer economic policy forum. we are described in the handbook on page 81. this for elma was organized in
the spring of 2008. the forum itself a start in boston in the year 2000 and since that time the association has been good enough to sponsor this four of every year since so this is the 11th occasion. excuse me is there a light of here? why can't see. [laughter] this year's for rahm was titled the national economic policies of president barack obama evaluation after one year on the trail. the speakers in the book will appear as the order in which they are listed in the book
except a few days ago christine a romer sent me an e-mail saying because the work of the council of economic advisers and the president's state of the union message economic reports and so on she couldn't possibly come today. so, she instead asked the program, assistant secretary of the treasury and chief economist was coming to the matter and he would be prepared to make a presentation in her stance. so allen is here and i am grateful to him we have one
technical problem. [laughter] allen has a powerpoint presentation. i told him at the time when we talked that my assistant would be here because at that time i thought i would have a power point presentation and that she would be willing to substitute, to preserve him as well. unfortunately she is not here yet. but she's in the building -- >> she is here. >> thank you. i'm sorry. i'm sorry. you need to have a word with allen. [laughter] [inaudible conversations] please, allow us to do this. i think his presentation would be much more efficient if we can do it this way.
in the meantime, you can look at me. [laughter] well, i should say the target's in the program are suggestive. the presenters are free to do whatever they wish and the content is their own and they are preparing to proceed forward. >> [inaudible] >> all right. let us do that. the vice chairman of the federal reserve board thing. >> thank you. i'm proud to produce pete in
this year's brimmer policy forum. governor brimmer and i did not overlap at the board, but i admired his work from the bank of kansas city where i start my career in 1970 and my colleagues in the federal reserve and i have greatly benefited since then from his analytical approach to the difficult public policy issues. this morning i thought it might be useful for me to review the course of monetary policy through the crisis and highlight a few issues for policy for the future. i would like to start with a couple of important clarifications. first, despite the title of the forum what i'm about to discuss is not president obama's monetary policy. it is the federal reserve. fortunately the administration has been careful to respect the independence of the federal reserve and conduct of monetary policy. it recognizes the federal
reserve insulation from short-term political pressures is essential for fostering achievement of our legislative objectives stable prices and maximum employment over time. and the second important clarification is the views you are about to here are those of my own and not as a surly any other member of the federal open market committee. let me start with a monitor policy. i have a past, present, future kind of presentation. as a prelude to discussing where we are now on issues for the future, i thought would be helpful to summarize the actions we took over the past two years. in august, 2007 we recognized we were coping with a potentially serious disruption in financial markets that could feedback adversely on the economy and job creation. with liquidity and key funding markets drying up, some securitization market's closing down of work policy interest
rates alone were not to win to be enough to keep financial conditions from tightening severely for households and businesses. our first actions were to ease the access of the oscillatory institutions to the federal reserve liquidity. but as the crisis worsened it became apparent that these actions alone would be insufficient. securities markets that come to play a prominent role in channeling the credit in our economy severe disruptions outside the u.s. banking sector were threatening to reduce economic activity. to counter the financial shock hitting the economy and support the flow of credit to households and businesses within needed to extend liquidity to support a range of non-bank institutions and some financial markets. as we expanded the reach of our liquidity facilities, we generally followed the time-honored precept of the central bank behavior in a
crisis. extend credit freely to solvent institutions at a penalty rate against adequate collateral. by making liquidity available more broadly we are trying to break the vicious spiral of uncertainty and fear feeding back on asset values and credit availability and from there back to the economy. we also found we needed to innovate by making the liquidity available through auctions as well as standing facilities to overcome reluctance to borrow from the federal reserve out of concern the borrowing could be inferred by market participants and if it is a weakness. that the financial developments would lead to the weakening of the aggregate demand we began to lower the federal fund rate in september of 2007 will be for any hard evidence had become available regarding the magnitude of the restraint that it might impose on economic activities. as it became increasingly evident over the course of 2008
that the financial disruptions were descending the the u.s. economy into a recession we picked up the pace of for the reductions in the funds target. importantly, our ability to move aggressively was enhanced by an environment of already low inflation and stable inflation expectations. to ease financial conditions further, even after our policy interest rates have approached zero we needed to operate directly on linker term segments of the financial markets. even though various types of debt securities are typically quite substitute a boy, our purchases of agency guaranteed mortgage-backed securities, agency debt and treasury securities evidently were successful in reducing long-term interest rates, partly because during the crisis private-sector part since had a very marked preference for short-term assets. in this highly unusual situation and with the normal response of
monetary policy interest rates constrained by the zero were bound we considered it especially important that we convey as clearly as possible our policy intentions to the market participants as they formulate their own expectations for the future path of interest rates and to help in this regard we have noted in the statements we have released at the conclusion of each fomc meeting our expectation that exceptionally low rates will likely be warranted for an extended period. keep inflation expectations anchored is always important but is especially so in current circumstances given the potential effects of the unprecedented economic developments in policy actions of the past to the shares on households and business views of the price outlook. and to provide more information to the public about our own expectations and objectives we have extended the horizon of public